While we at the cosmetic, general, and restorative dentistry practice of Dr. Charles A. Robertson and Dr. Nicholas Perry Orchard do not advise patients to diagnose their own dental problems very often, there is one simple test you can perform right now that would be highly worthwhile. Run your finger along your teeth at the gum line. Do the surfaces of your teeth feel flat at the point where the gums end and the teeth begin? Or do you feel small indentations - little notches, if you will?
If you do feel notches, you have what are known clinically as dental abfractions. Abfractions are quite common, yet not all that well known among the general population. In their earliest stages, they don’t pose any particular threat to the teeth and are relatively simple to treat. However, if left untreated, they will become progressively worse and can lead to serious dental problems requiring more extensive - and expensive - treatment.
In discussing dental damage and tooth abfraction during consultations at their Corpus Christi, TX practice, Drs. Robertson and Orchard help patients understand what abfractions are, how they’re caused, and how they can be avoided in the future. They also discuss potential treatment options and why it is important to seek treatment rather than leave minor abfractions alone.
If you have dental abfractions, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Robertson or Dr. Orchard today.
About Dental Abfractions
Unlike most structural damage to teeth, dental abfractions are not initially caused by exposure to bacteria. At one point, it was widely believed that abfractions were caused by improper tooth brushing. Now it is known that, while exposure to bacteria and overaggressive tooth brushing can certainly cause abfractions to become worse, there are likely other root causes for the condition.
The most common causes of abfractions are:
- Bruxism: Bruxism is the clinical term for chronic tooth grinding, which can cause extreme damage to the teeth over time. Put simply, the teeth are not meant to withstand the pressure of constant grinding for hours at a time for years, as is common especially among patients who grind their teeth in their sleep. The base of the teeth, where the teeth meet the gums, will bear the brunt of this pressure, which is why damage will eventually become apparent there.
- Malocclusion: Malocclusion refers to an improper bite, or how the upper and lower teeth meet when the jaw is closed. Like bruxism, malocclusion places extraordinary pressure on the teeth, particularly when a person is biting and chewing. Over the course of years, this can manifest itself as damage at the base of the teeth.
Drs. Robertson and Orchard deal with abfractions by treating both the damage they cause and the underlying issue responsible for the abfractions in the first place. The abfractions themselves can generally be treated with tooth-colored fillings or dental crowns, while orthodontic and other therapies are available to treat bruxism and malocclusion.
Learn More about Dental Damage and Tooth Abfraction
To learn more about dental damage and tooth abfraction, please contact the cosmetic, general, and restorative dentistry practice of Dr. Charles A. Robertson and Dr. Nicholas Perry Orchard today.